Mar 5 / Rob

JMU Closes the Season With a Loss to Drexel

That’s all she wrote folks. JMU fell to Drexel in the Dean Keener round of the CAA Tournament, ending the 2017-2018 season. The Dukes played well in the opening half of the 70-62 loss, but the wheels came off down the stretch. After a season of exciting offensive play throughout the entire conference, this one was a throwback to the CAA rock fights of yesteryear. The referees called 51 fouls, which really hampered the flow of the game. Unfortunately, JMU only managed to convert fouls into 14 points thanks to shooting a pedestrian 64% from the stripe. Drexel on the other hand knocked down 85% and scored 28 points off free throws. As for the shooting from the field, the less we say about it, the better. Both teams were frankly, awful. They combined to hit only 39 of 121 attempts. Do the math. That’s truly terrible. Matt Lewis lead the Dukes in scoring with 15 on a tough shooting performance. Mosley and Banks had 13 and 10 respectively. Here are 3 key numbers after the game.

17

That is the number of field goal attempts JMU missed in a row in the second half. Yes, the Dukes missed 17 straight shots. It was awful. Missed jumpers. Missed layups. Missed put-backs. Picture a shot a team could miss and JMU probably did just that. I’ve been a JMU fan for a long, long time (which is kind of a way of saying I’ve watch a LOT of bad basketball), but I don’t recall seeing a team go that cold with the game on the line. It was uncanny. This year’s team didn’t shoot particularly well, but we never saw 17 straight misses coming. It was brutal. And it cost them a game that they could have won.

7

That’s the number of blocks Drexel’s Austin Williams had for the game. To say he did an excellent job protecting the rim in the second half wouldn’t do it justice. He did a pretty damn good Dikembe Mutombo impersonation. If he wasn’t blocking shots, he was getting Dukes to pass them up. JMU shot like crap all game. You can chalk some of that up to it just being a particularly bad night. But you also need to give Williams some credit. Basketball teams go cold all the time. Typically, you see guys try to get to the hole when the jumpers aren’t falling. JMU didn’t seem to want to get anywhere near the rim when Williams was set up down low though. His defense absolutely changed the game.

45

That’s the number of losses JMU has under Coach Lou Rowe. In 2 years. And those losses are balanced by only 20 wins. We’re stating this not say the sky is falling. We’re simply acknowledging that the record is not great under Rowe. It’s not even respectable. We get that.

However, JMU landed two players, Matt Lewis and Darius Banks on the All CAA Rookie team this year. One of Rowe’s other recruits, Stuckey Mosley, earned All CAA third team honors. JMU’s freshmen scored over 1,000 points this season. The class was responsible for 43% of JMU’s scoring. All five guys averaged at least 10 minutes of playing time.

JMU loses Ramone Snowden and Joey McLean next year. They’re both nice pieces, but as seniors they essentially became role players after they were eclipsed by their younger teammates. And that’s not a knock on them, it’s a compliment. They both showed a lot of maturity and adjusted their roles to suit the team. They played well, but the guys taking their minutes for the next few years have much higher ceilings. Banks and Lewis have All CAA potential. Mosley already made All CAA and should be even better next year.

We’re not blind to reality and we understand nobody is confusing Coach Rowe with John Wooden just yet. He’s done a really nice job putting his stamp on this team defensively. And he’s assembled a talented roster to work with. Now it’s time for him to show everyone what he’s got with the offense. We wish there were more wins too. Trust us. But we can either wallow in our misery, or we can recognize that there is real potential with the program. We choose to be positive. It’s way more fun.

Go Dukes.

3 Comments

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  1. Purple Pride / Mar 5 2018

    I totally agree with your thoughts about the future and analysis of the game. What more can be said? Next year will need to be a year that shows an increase in the W’s.

  2. Aditya / Mar 9 2018

    Thanks so much Courtney!

  3. Murdoc / Mar 19 2018

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much

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